Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims that Israel was behind the ouster of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi. Who knew that Israel could cause hundreds of thousands of Egyptians to take to the streets on its behalf and cause the Egyptian army to do its bidding?
Erdogan is too responsible to make this sort of allegation without proof. “We have a document in our hands,” he assured a gathering of his political party.
The document turns out to be a 2011 video in which a Frenchman — Bernard-Henri Levy — tells a gathering in Tel Aviv, including Tzipi Livni, now Israel’s Minister of Justice, that if the Muslim Brotherhood wins the election in Egypt, the military should intervene.
Ah, now it all makes sense. The Egyptian military undoubtedly hangs on the every word of a flamboyant French public intellectual. And although Levy is not Israeli, he’s Jewish and he made his comment in Israel. Thus, Israel is clearly to blame.
Yet the Turkish press seems skeptical of, and even a bit amused by, Erdogan’s latest rant against Israel. Hurriyet Daily News began its article on Erdogan’s comments this way: “Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan went back on the warpath August 20, accusing one of Ankara’s most prominent bogeymen, Israel, of complicity in overthrowing Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.”
It’s worth remembering that President Obama has identified Erdogan as one of the handful of world leaders with whom he has formed a bond. It’s also worth remembering that Obama pressured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into phoning Erodgan to apologize for operational errors that may have led to loss of life on the Mavi Marmara ship that tried to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
Obama apparently believed that Netanyahu’s apology would pave the way to a reconciliation between Israel and Turkey. It did not, of course. If anything, as his Erdogan’s latest rant shows, his paranoid anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish rhetoric has escalated to the point that even Turks are rolling their eyes.